Marvin Barnes, who rose from the gritty neighborhood of South Providence to the NCAA Final Four on the legendary 1973 Providence College basketball team and later had a promising career in professional basketball that was cut short by drug addiction and scrapes with the law, has died. He was 62.
Barnes death was first reported by ProJo sports writer Kevin McNamara, who wrote that he got the news from Barnes old friend and teammate, Kevin Stacom. He died at his Providence home.
Upsets this time of year have become the norm for the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. The hoop experts fall over each other to predict which underdog teams will knock off the favorites.
This year, a trendy pick has become the Providence College team which faces the University of North Carolina tomorrow evening in San Antonio. UNC is seeded at 6 and plays in the very tough Atlantic Coast Conference. PC is an 11 seed.
The Providence College basketball team hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament in 10 years. The University of North Carolina hoop team has won two national championships in that decade.
PC coach Ed Cooley has never been to the NCAA’s as a head coach. Roy Williams, the coach of UNC, will be coaching his 84th NCAA post-season game. Williams, who coached perennial national power Kansas before moving to UNC, has been to 24 NCAA tourneys as a head coach. His NCAA record is 62-21.
Since the 1950s, Providence College basketball has been one of the great story lines in all of college sports, a New England version of the cinematic Hoosiers.
This tale flat-lined for too many years. But make no mistake: the Friars are back to the future, playing a marquee game tonight at Madison Square Garden, where the PC hoop legend really began all those years ago, in the early 1960s, with the National Invitational Tournament, when that post-season playoff at the Garden overshadowed the NCAA’s tournament.